A masked gunman gained entrance into an east London mosque during Ramadan prayers before firing a gun outside.
Muslims were at the Seven Kings Mosque in Ilford for evening prayer late on Thursday when they heard the sound of a gunshot. A masked man was said to have entered the mosque on High Road, but was made to leave before firing the gun.
Scotland Yard said early investigations suggested that a “blank firing handgun” had been discharged. No injuries or damage to the building were reported and detectives were not treating the incident as terrorism-related, the force said.
Scotland Yard said the investigation was being led by detectives from the East Area Command Unit, although the Trident gang squad had been notified.
Ibraheem Hussain, 19, who was at the mosque at the time of the shooting, described hearing the gunshot around half an hour after prayers began.
He said: “There’s three sections of the mosque and at taraweeh (evening prayers) during this time of Ramadan the mosque is packed out. We were upstairs in the classrooms and about 30 minutes into the night prayer a large noise went off.
“I just continued my prayer, it sounded like a firework or maybe something heavy had been dropped, so no-one really thought anything of it. After we finished we were leaving the shoe area and someone said it was a gunshot, someone had come into the mosque and he had a firearm on him. The managers had seen him, he was masked and acting suspicious and the firearm was let off.”
Following the incident the mosque’s imam, Mufti Suhail, urged people not to speculate over the gunman’s motives.
He said: “There was a firearm incident outside Seven Kings Mosque tonight during Ramadan night prayers. The suspect ran from the scene when stopped by brothers standing guard at the mosque. A shot was fired which fortunately did not hit anyone.”
Ilford North MP Wes Streeting said he would be contacting the police about the incident.
“I am aware of the reports of a man with a firearm at Seven Kings Mosque during prayers tonight and am relieved that no one appears to have been hurt or injured. Thank you to @MPSRedbridge for a swift response,” he tweeted.